HARP appeals for donations to keep homeless people in Southend safe during heatwave

HARP, Southend’s leading homelessness charity, has launched an urgent appeal for donations of sun cream and bottled water to help keep local people safe during the heatwave.

Weather forecasts are predicting temperatures as high as the mid-thirties this week, as the UK continues to experience very hot weather.

As locals head out to enjoy all that Southend has to offer in the glorious sunshine, the charity is asking people be mindful of vulnerable residents, including local people experiencing homelessness, and particularly rough sleepers.

The charity is urgently appealing for factor 50 sun cream and bottled water to distribute to their vulnerable clients. Any members of the public who are able to help with these items are encouraged to donate at HARP’s Bradbury Day Centre, 103-107 York Road, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 2DL.

Homelessness is harmful to health all year round, but it can be particularly risky during extreme conditions, such as the current heatwave.

Gary Turner, Director of Service Operations at HARP, said: “Any form of extreme weather can be dangerous and even life-threatening to people living on the streets. Exposure to high temperatures without shelter or hydration can be extremely dangerous.”

But there are things you can do to help if you are concerned about someone sleeping rough.

Gary continued: “Items like water, sun cream and hats might seem trivial, but they can literally be lifesavers in very hot weather if offered to a rough sleeper or donated to HARP to be distributed to our clients. If you are concerned about someone you’ve seen sleeping rough, you can also contact Streetlink so that our Outreach Team can respond quickly, or, if the situation is urgent, emergency services.”

Here’s more detail on how the public can help rough sleepers during the hot spell.

Offer Water, Sun Cream or Shade

If you see someone sleeping rough, you could ask if they need water or sun lotion, a hat or sunglasses, or suggest moving into a shady spot if they are in bright sunshine.

Donate Summer Items to HARP

Donations of bottled water, squash, sun cream, after-sun lotion and hats are in high demand at this time of year and can be brought to the Bradbury Day Centre on York Road. Summer clothing can also be donated at any of our charity shops and will be considered for our service users or sold in the shops with profits used to support our work with homeless people. You can find details of how and where to donate items here.

Alert StreetLink

You can report the location of rough sleepers to StreetLink, a national rough sleeper reporting line which then sends the information to relevant local agencies, including HARP in Southend, who can then offer help to those in need. There’s even an app you can download for your smart phone or tablet.

Alert Emergency Services if Needed

If it looks like someone is in immediate danger, the best course of action is to contact emergency services by dialling 999.

Mick Ferris

Editor Email: mickferris@yellowad.co.uk